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Repair Rickshaw Concept

rickshaw small
Photo remixed from Flickr user sarahandiain on CC license

Since we got started, we have been interested in bringing repair back into public spaces and getting people engaged in a hands-on way. This post is about how we arrived at one of our most exciting concepts.

Last year, we participated in OpenIDEO’s E-Waste Challenge which asked the question: How can we manage e-waste & discarded electronics to safeguard human health & protect our environment?

We had experimented with OpenIDEO earlier but really felt the creative and collaborative power of its global, online collaboration with this challenge. We were interacting with professionals from a number of different fields, and from around the world, on the issue of preventing electronic waste. Now in 2013, we plan to take some of the best ideas from the challenge and prototype them, including mashing two of our favourite concepts together.

The diverse global community submitted 199 posts in the Inspiration phase, which were existing services or analogous ideas from other areas that could be adapted to the issue of e-waste. Some of our favourites were:

During the challenge we commented on a number of the concepts and participated in a couple as they were collaboratively iterated. Two of our favourite challenge winners got us excited enough to pursue some prototyping. First was a concept by Design for America at the University of Illinois Champaign Urbana for an E-CycleTruck, designed to be a mobile platform for awareness raising and waste prevention. They were inspired by the food truck phenomenon in the US.

We thought – why not create a Repair Rickshaw, even greener and more appropriate for London? Then it was actually a member of the OpenIDEO community who suggested that a mobile solution (like our rickshaw idea) could be mashed up with Carol Shu’s Farmers’ Market “(e)Waste Not” Booth idea – which got us thinking even further.

Our Repair Rickshaw would be an avenue to remind people the value of not giving up on their electronics and that that responsible consumption of electronics is better on our pockets and better for the planet.

We envision a mobile vehicle to get around and promote local repair businesses at Farmers’ Markets and other local hot spots. We also hope to collect broken e-stuff and return devices a week later for a pre-arranged fee. We may even set up mini repair workshops alongside the rickshaw so that folks can watch and learn about simple repairs.

Implicit in OpenIDEO challenges is that it is possible for us, the community, to take things forward – which is exactly what we at Restart Project plan to do in 2013. We will be crowdfunding and seeking sponsorship for the Repair Rickshaw – which we hope to trial at London farmers’ markets but also food and craft markets. And who knows? Perhaps there might even be potential in areas of large concentration of office workers at lunch time in central London.

If you were involved in the E-waste Challenge or are an interested designer, repairer, rickshaw enthusiast, or crowdfundraiser – and would like to get involved – get in touch!

[This post was originally published on OpenIDEO]

3 responses

  1. Cheryl

    I would be interested in getting involved. I love this idea and see a real potential for this to grow into a substantial business. Would be great to speak to the ideator/founder.

  2. Sarah Astor

    I am interested in this concept and would like to find out more

    1. Hi Cheryl and Sarah,

      We’ll be in touch via email, thanks for your interest!

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